Virtual Pop Star, the new Japanese holographic pop sensation.

She’s pretty, stylish and oozes star quality. But Japan’s latest pop sensation is not quite what she seems – in fact, she doesn’t actually exist.

It turns out that Aimi Eguchi, the newest member of the Japanese band AKB48, is a virtual composite of six other band members.

The fake pop star first appeared in an advert for Japanese sweets, but also has an online profile and has featured in a magazine photoshoot using faked pictures. Her fans were shocked to discover this week that Eguchi’s computer-generated features were created by blending the nose, hair, mouth, eyes, eyebrows and body shape of six real AKB48 members. Each was recorded using digital motion capture, allowing Eguchi’s designers to select their best features for the composite pop star.

Clues to Eguchi’s real nature were apparently there, if you knew where to look – her name is derived from the name of the sweet company and their product, along with the theme song from the advert. She’s also not the country’s first virtual pop star – Hatsune Miku, a synthesised singer, performs holographic concerts to hundreds of fans.

Eguchi is the latest example of advanced digital human techniques which, as we recently reported, are increasingly cropping up on our screens. While it is easy to notice that there is something not quite right about her once you know that she’s a fake, she did manage to fool AKB48’s fans for a number of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled – the next virtual star may be harder to spot.

Read the article at New Scientist

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